Drunk driver who killed two suing restaurants that served him booze

Drunk driver who killed two suing restaurants that served him booze

James RuizThe envelope, please: And the award for this year’s Galling Abdication of Personal Responsibility goes to James Ruiz of Santa Fe, N.M. Ruiz, who is serving a 40-year prison sentence for the 2010 DUI vehicular deaths of two teenagers, filed a civil lawsuit on Friday naming two restaurants that served him alcohol and a friend who allowed him to drive drunk.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the suit was brought on the third anniversary of the crash that claimed the lives of 19-year-old Del Lynn Peshlakai and her sister Deshauna, 17. The two were killed when the truck Ruiz was driving slammed into the rear of the car in which they were passengers.

Ruiz, 37, is seeking monetary damages from Applebee’s, the Blue Corn Cafe, and Gilbert Mendoza, a drinking buddy. The papers, which Ruiz filed himself, state that as a result of “causing and perceiving the motor vehicle crash and its effects upon everybody envolved [sic], the Plaintiff (Ruiz) suffered and continue [sic] to suffer emotional distress.”

The suit further maintains that an employee of the Santa Fe Applebee’s “had previous knowledge” that Ruiz “was a habitual drinking alcoholic” and that the employee was working the night of the crash. Ruiz, a repeat drunken driver, was out on bond on his fifth DWI arrest at the time.

A statement released by the restaurant group that includes the Blue Corn Café reads in part:

Our attorney has not had an opportunity to review the complaint handwritten and filed by Mr. Ruiz. Consequently it is not possible to comment, except to express the continued, deepest sympathy to the family of the young women killed by Mr. Ruiz, an individual who has long history of criminal DWI behavior.

In addition to his lawsuit, Ruiz filed a court petition last month seeking a new trial or reconsideration of his sentence, alleging that his lawyer didn’t provide him with effective representation.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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